By Cllr Ian Bevan:
We have today heard from the Planning Inspector that following receipt of final submissions on noise issues by Peel / Marshalls, Bury Council and RAWS, he has now closed the planning inquiry. The Inspector will now commence writing his report to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Greg Clark MP) and will make a recommendation on how the appeal should be determined. The Secretary of State will then take the final decision on the appeal.
The deadline for submitting that report to the Secretary of State is 28 September 2015.
The deadline for the decision to be issued by the Secretary of State is now 30 November 2015.
It is interesting to note that of all the planning decisions taken each year in England, only a tiny proportion – fewer than 0.01 per cent – are decided by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Planning ministers (including the Secretary of State) are under a duty to behave fairly (“quasi-judicially”) in the decision-making procedure. They must act and be seen to act fairly and even-handedly. Planning Ministers are required to bring an unbiased, properly directed and independent mind to consideration of the planning appeal and must be seen to approach matters before them with an open mind.
It looks likely that we will have to wait a few months before the final decision, but that may not be the end of the matter. Peel / Marshalls, Bury Council or RAWS can make an application to the High Court under s288 Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to challenge the decision of the Secretary of State. The time limit for lodging any such application is 6 weeks and time starts to run from the date of the decision letter.
An application to the High Court under s288 TCPA cannot be used simply because a party does not agree with the decision that has been reached. There must be some error of law, for example the Inspector or Secretary of State has failed to take into account a material consideration.
We will keep you up to date with developments.